Are Atheists Born Or Made?

Gosai
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Are Atheists Born Or Made?

A friend of mine once said that everyone is born an atheist. And I replied that, "How do you know, you can't remember that far back."

This is my first quote on this forum and I would like to know your thoughts. Is atheism a natural tendency or is belief in something/someone beyond the forces of the world a natural tendency? In a single word what is the core difference between an atheist and a theist?

Cheers to AllCool


miketwo
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natural thinking

Gosai wrote:


A friend of mine once said that everyone is born an atheist. And I replied that, "How do you know, you can't remember that far back."

This is my first quote on this forum and I would like to know your thoughts. Is atheism a natural tendency or is belief in something/someone beyond the forces of the world a natural tendency? In a single word what is the core difference between an atheist and a theist?

Cheers to AllCool


Gosai,

I can't narrow down the difference to a single word -- that would be oversimplifying -- but I can give you a definition that has really helped me understand why atheists claim we're all born atheists.

(Quick note:  I use "god" for one or many gods, and "he" or "him" when refering to said god only out of a desire to write simply.)

Theism is defined as a person who would make the following statement and consider it true:  "I do believe that a god does exist."

Atheism is defined as the opposite of this, and there are two ways to negate the statement:

1)  "I do NOT believe that a god does exist. "

2)  "I do believe that a god does NOT exist."

The first is what we're referring to when we say that everyone is born atheist, because everyone is born a-everything.  God is a concept (certainly a specific god, like the Christian God or Allah or Thor...), and so until someone teaches you that concept or you invent it yourself, you are implicitly atheistic with respect to that concept.  Theists sometimes like to call this Ignorance instead of Atheism, but the point is moot.  Whatever you want to call it, we are not born theist.  I think the easiest way to describe that is saying we're atheist.

Now, once you're introduced to the concept of god, you can STILL be implicitly atheistic if you don't think the evidence is credible enough.  Note here that this is different from rejecting the concept because you've proven otherwise -- this is simply "I don't believe you" as opposed to "I'm certain you're mistaken."  As an analogy, think if your friend came in and said "Your car was stolen!"  That's a concept he is trying to get you to accept, much like any other concept.  You basically have 3 categories of response:

1) Believe him.

2) Don't believe him, but hold out the possibility it might be true upon further evidence.

3)  Don't believe him, because you have enough evidence to know it's not true.  (i.e.  You can see your car.)

In this analogy, the latter two positions are positions of disbelief, and are analogous to the two basic varieties of atheism.  Most atheists are a mix of both varieties.  They are explicitly atheistic with respect to certain varieties of god (because those varieties are internally contradictory or irrelevant), and implicitly atheistic towards the god concept in general (if enough evidence came along to show, for example, a deistic god existed, I don't think many atheists would have a problem believing this).  

I don't want to speak for my fellow atheists, but that is my perception of things.

As for "natural tendency" -- the natural tendency of a child is to accept the culture (including religion or nonreligion) of his parents.  That's why religions can basically be geographically distinguished, and why religious folk need "missions" to foreign lands to convert people.  If it were natural to convert, you probably wouldn't need missions so much as you'd need to tend the flock at home.  So the question as you posed it has a third answer -- we are natural absorbers of culture, whatever that culture may be.

Naturally.  Eye-wink


Jacob Cordingley
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AL500 wrote: Evolutionists

AL500 wrote:

Evolutionists are oblivious to reality. In an atheist universe we cannot even substantiate the existence of reality. The old earth theory has been systematically shreaded by true scientists. Read this article: http://www.icr.org/research/index/researchp_as_igneousbodies/ The only reason you believe in an old earth is because you have been indoctrinated and duped by the public education system which has an atheist agenda. Their teachings are based on politics, not science. The  people who once believed the world was flat, also teach evolution. They don't have a very good track record of accuracy. I wouldn't put so much trust in them.

The vast majority of real scientists would quite clearly reject this. I admit, I do not have the knowledge of geology to dispute this. However, it not being peer-reviewed shows its weakness as a scientific paper. They also start from the idea given in an ancient holy text that the world is 6,000 years old. Real science starts with no presuppositions. We start with evidence and form conclusions. These guys start with the conclusion and try to find evidence that fits. Now before you say that evolutionists do the same, Charles Darwin, provides a mass of evidence in Origin of Species, evidence which he started with before reaching the conclusion. The theory has been tested over and over again for over 150 years and never once been proved wrong. Have creation theorists tested creation or have they simply tried to find sketchy evidence to support it.

As for your assertion that it is evolutionists who would have taught flat-earth theory this is unfounded bull. There were flat-Earth societies remaining in the 20th century, all of whom were religious fundamentalists. There are still religious groups today who believe that the Earth does not go round the sun (technically they go round each other but effectively the gravity of all the planets is not enough to significantly move the sun and so the sun remains at the centre).  


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Quote:

Quote:
Real science starts with no presuppositions. We start with evidence and form conclusions. These guys start with the conclusion and try to find evidence that fits.

Not quite. Real science starts with an idea, a "hypothesis". But rather than asking "how can we demonstrate that it is true?", the scientist should then ask "how could I prove that this is wrong?"

If they can't think of anything that would prove it wrong ("falsify" it), then the scientist marks the hypothesis as "unfalsifiable" nd moved to the next project. The hypothesis is moot because there's no way to prove it wrong or not.

The way to do this is make predictions about reality that would only be true if the theory is correct: such as, for testing the theory of relativity, that an atomic clock flown round the world as fast as possible would have a slightly different time than one left on the ground. Or that the orbits of the planets would

What could disprove young-earthism? Well, if all the dating methods showed the earth to be older than 10,000 years, that would be a bit of a tip-off.

What could disprove non-evolutionary creationism? Well, proving that stuff evolves in the lab would be a bit of a tip off; as would an unbroken chain of fossils for two species, all dated in chronological order, that met at a common ancestor; and ring species would be a pretty big clue too. And we have all these things, so it seems pretty disproven, or "falsified". But what other things could disprove it? I don't know, and this is what ID proponents should be working on.

What could disprove evolution? This is what ID proponents do instead, rather than trying to disprove ID. This is completely the wrong way round to do science: you should try to disprove your own theory. However, scientists already got to trying to disprove evolution first, because it's the right way to do science. And both scientists and ID came up with: the fossil record, where evolutionary changes should appear roughly in sequence according to the dating methods; the DNA record, ditto; "irreducible complexity", where if a feature could not have evolved by slowly co-opting features that already existed, then it could not possibly have evolved. So far, evolution has stood up well to these tests.

Quote:
There were flat-Earth societies remaining in the 20th century, all of whom were religious fundamentalists.

There are still flat-earthers in the 21st century - they have a meetup.com page somewhere. I am unsure if this is a silliness group though: I suspect it's just an excuse to meet up and have beer.

T="theists who's posts are fun-to-read, truth-seeking and insightful". Your own T will be different, but Tdewi includes { Avecrien, Cory T, crocaduck, JHenson, jread, wavefreak }


Vastet
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Vastet wrote: [MOD EDIT -

Vastet wrote:

[MOD EDIT - content removed for insults and name calling.]

 

Having been a moderator plenty of times, I'm quite well aware that moderating a post for content is a necessity. I'm also quite well aware that deleting the entire content of a post is idiotic when a few words can be changed so as to not remove the valid points. Someone was lazy, and I'm being generous. At the least you could have PM'd me to give me the opportunity to repost what I'd posted without the objectionable content, if you were too lazy to remove a few words or censor them. But you didn't even PM me to tell me I'd posted improper content in a forum not meant for it, let alone send me the text so I could modify it with a new post. Real nice. [/sarcasm]

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Gosai wrote: A friend of

Gosai wrote:

A friend of mine once said that everyone is born an atheist. And I replied that, "How do you know, you can't remember that far back."

This is my first quote on this forum and I would like to know your thoughts. Is atheism a natural tendency or is belief in something/someone beyond the forces of the world a natural tendency? In a single word what is the core difference between an atheist and a theist?

Cheers to AllCool

 

It's a good question and as can be seen from the number of response, it certainly elicits alot of opinions and commentary. 

But at the end of the day, that's all they are - opinions. Nothing more - nothing less..! 

I don't believe atheism is a natural tendancy no more than I believe that having "faith" is a natural tendency.

Each of us is provided with "information" and we base our beliefs on how we interpret this information..


curiousjorge050476
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Gosai wrote:

Gosai wrote:

A friend of mine once said that everyone is born an atheist. And I replied that, "How do you know, you can't remember that far back."

This is my first quote on this forum and I would like to know your thoughts. Is atheism a natural tendency or is belief in something/someone beyond the forces of the world a natural tendency? In a single word what is the core difference between an atheist and a theist?

Cheers to AllCool

 

Personally, i believe that people are born neither athiests nor theists, simply because they don't know anything yet. How could one say there is no God when one doesn't even know what a God is? They have no attachments, no prejudices nor intentions. They are basically sponges absorbing information as they receive it. It is only after a period of time (time depending upon the rate of maturity of the individual) that they develop enough sense to be either Atheists or theists.

Also, if everyone is born an atheist, then going through the motions of evolution, the very first "humans" with a sense of awareness would have been atheists, and then teach their kids to be atheists and so on and so forth, resulting in a world filled with atheists and theists would have been a very rare occurance.

If that were true, how come every single civilization or tribe or people in history were recorded to be theists? (note, i said recorded)

In fact, i am yet to read of any ancient civilization which is entirely or even just predominantly populated by atheists.


razorphreak
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How interesting, 4 pages

How interesting, 4 pages and this thread is still going.

I have to agree with most everyone else, people are born without the knowledge of God.  I suppose that makes the definition of "atheist when you are born".

There is a verse however that explains how God comes to a person and it is not via "being taught" from another person (in accordance to the Christian belief in what it told by the bible)... 

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire